Redbull gives you wings right? But how bendy are they?
Well that seems to be the question the FIA is going to be asking.
F1 teams have never been shy of loopholes and innovation. Thats exactly what keeps it exciting. It was only last year that we saw Mercedes with their DAS design. With a small pull of the wheel the Dual axis system changed the alignment of the two front tyres making the energy and heat more evenly distributed over the whole surface of the tyre. This in turn caused the tyres to get the much needed heat (which in turn means grip) and thats always going to put you a step ahead of everyone else. But as much as it was deemed legal for the one year, it is now illegal and so no longer allowed.
Finding loopholes isn’t something new. So what’s the difference here? Well bendy wings isn’t an issue alone. Its always been a point of interest for the FIA and it is actually tested pretty significantly. However they are only tested when stationary. There in no current test for when the car is moving at speed, and this is when the rigidity of the RedBull wing is questionable. So it passes the basic tests, but Mercedes are saying that the basic test in not enough.
When at high speed down the straights the wing bends more than others. This helps reduce drag and is also going to disturb the airflow for the car behind. But let’s be honest, it’s not exactly getting Redbull on that top podium step every weekend, so is it an issue? We’ll actually yes and no.
As said before innovation is what F1 is built on. However the FIA need to be able to make sure there are lines that aren’t crossed. This is difficult to do when it’s not a simple yes or no, right or wrong. Bendy wings are not something new. Every car on the grid has them in fact. If the rear wing was completely rigid with no bend at all, as soon as the car hits big speed it would completely smash the whole wing.
So what’s the issue then?
Well there’s a difference between making it just bendy enough to make sure its safe or making it bendy enough to actually benefit from. And this is were were argument starts.
As a consequence to all of this, the FIA will be introducing further load/deflection tests focusing on the rear wings flexibility. These new tests are to be introduced on the 15th June. So this gives the teams chance to get everything in order (if they think they will fail these tests).
So could this be a significant hit for RedBull this year? Or actually is what they have going to pass the test? We will find out by the French GP.
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